Tapping the Future with CSC Toronto and Grand Valley

This shows the proposed basement of the post office, incorporating wood and concrete as some of the primary materials.
This shows the proposed basement of the post office, incorporating wood and concrete as some of the primary materials.

The use of brick, wood, grass, concrete, glass, acoustic treatments, and green walls were all incorporated into the Soundwave stage design as part of the minimum five product categories. In its extensive project document, the team explains the use of each material as it relates to the space and the concept of soundscaping. These materials were hand-selected for their durability, esthetic quality, and acoustic performance. In order to fulfil the master specification requirement, the team chose an outdoor wooden façade with shifting panels. The panels would cover the large glass addition to the post office and could be placed in an open or closed position to filter the desired amount of light into the space. The wood used for these panels mimics the old wood used throughout the post office space.

Teams were encouraged to look at the project as a real-life building model in terms of materials, location, and the surrounding issues. The Soundwave team acknowledged issues of heavy traffic on Queen and Cooper Streets, where the old post office is located. This heavy traffic could be a deterrent for some to avoid the downtown core. To remedy this, the team hopes the addition of a cultural music venue will drive more foot traffic and public transportation to the area, which, in turn, will raise a higher demand for more public transportation and lower speeds through the area.

Since the amalgamation of Hespeler with the city of Cambridge, residents have become concerned with maintaining their small-town identity. Soundwave combated this problem by creating a cultural hub encouraging community involvement and providing a connection for the neighborhoods.

The team agreed the theme of heritage was a strong thread running through their design.

“Through the competition, it taught us a lot of about reuse/heritage and how to incorporate a design that is sensitive to a community” Han said.

YingFang Zhu (left) and Jenifer Solorzano (right) standing beside their winning entry, at CSC's Connections Café, last May. All photos courtesy Langen Studios.
YingFang Zhu (left) and Jenifer Solorzano (right) standing beside their winning entry at CSC’s Connections Café, last May.
Photos courtesy Langen Studios

It was also one of their biggest challenges.

“The most difficult part was finding the right programming for the building so it made sense to the Hespeler community. As a team, it was crucial for us to design a space that was inclusive and could reach out to the town of Hespeler and their surrounding neighbours. Though it was challenging to do so, it was our favorite part of the project as we believe it is important to acknowledge the history/heritage of a community and the impact of our design on them.”

The team also commended CSC for their involvement with the competition.

“By hosting this competition, it shows CSC really cares about regionalism and the importance of acknowledging the impact of design on a community. Also, we appreciate CSC for reaching out to local students and giving us the opportunity to be involved and conscious of our community,” Han said.

Awards were handed out last May during the CSC Connections Café at the Pines in Cambridge with second place, and a prize of $1000, going to team Embody (Annie Feng, Kayley Mullings, and Sidney Tsao), whose design centred on chakras—the architecture of the soul—in their art and wellness facility modelled after the human body and its energies.

Third place and a $500 prize went to team Pr2Produce (Olivia Carmichael and Miko Stagg) who used the concept of an atom—the smallest unit of matter—to design a community space focused on art and food to help build and maintain the community of Hespeler.

Fourth place went to team Aperature (Cole Barkman and Heejin Jeono) whose design of a local artist’s haven included a café, a second-floor residency, a display area, and various imaging technologies.

Fifth place was awarded to team Selvedge (Lindsay Klein, Emma Kulcsar, and Alessa Metzler) for the design of a

Team Embody (bottom left), Pr2Produce (top left), Aperature (top right), and Selvedge (bottom right) accepting their awards from CSC members David Boyle (right) and Paul Gerber (left).
Team Embody (bottom left), Pr2Produce (top left), Aperature (top right), and Selvedge (bottom right) accepting their awards from CSC members David Boyle (right) and Paul Gerber (left).

textile museum with in-house residency to host visiting fashion experts.

An additional prize—the Eureka Award for Creativity—went to team CMYK (Sebastian Jurksztowics, Jane Le, Veronica Rutkay, and Shannon Sun) for their ingenuity with their design of a comics centre.

CSC Grand Valley chair Cathie Schneider congratulated the 2015 winners, and encourages students to join in the new competition. She emphasizes students’ role in the future of the industry.

“We believe that young design professionals bring new ideas, new innovations and a new understanding of culture and community to our industry. We know that their input is necessary for us to move forward in a meaningful way,” Schneider says. “We need their enthusiasm, energy, and creativity. We need to mentor and be present for them. We need to help them weave their way into the fabric of our industry.”

This year’s project entries must be submitted by April 30, with the last day for registration on April 26.

The competition’s success has intrigued the interest of other CSC chapters. Over the summer, the design competition committee developed the “CSC Student Design Competition Handbook,” to help other chapters host similar competitions in their respective areas.

Construction Canada asked the second- and third-place teams, Embody and Pr2Produce respectively, to speak a little about their designs.
Embody: After thorough research, we found that the residents of the local community were very interested in wellness and the arts. In the downtown Queen Street strip, many of the local stores have centred around these two topics. After realizing the interests of the local community, we asked ourselves how visitors or tourists could feel just as involved in Hespeler. After much consideration, we envisioned our redesign of the Hespeler post office as a local wellness centre.  We wanted it to be a place where residents and tourists could enjoy a spa experience while being exposed to local art created by the Hespeler community. The wellness centre provides spa amenities such as a massage rooms and a thermal bath. For public non-spa users, a cafe is provided where visitors have a view into the central courtyard with installations created by local artists.

Pr2Produce: Graphically represented as an element in the periodic table, Pr2 plays with the idea of what an atom is, and how it can conceptually be represented. An atom is the smallest unit of matter but [everything] in the world is made up of these small particles. In other words a single atom is one part of a whole. This is the same as Produce, the design itself is just the atom, it is the reaction that comes from this that is the whole of the design. The communication that happens within the design is the design. Produce is multiplied by itself to reflect the fact that the word has two applications. Produce in the sense of fresh produce as well as the act of producing art. The design is intended to bring the community together on this basis: for the love of food and the love of art.

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